Originally Posted by ImaginaryNumber
Mark, please don't be bashful. Share your cruising and living tips with us!
Well... Since childhood, I had big dreams and no money
. Luckily I had been a boatworker in several applications, since I left home @ 15, so I could build my own. The first project
was from 20 to 23 years old, and the second was from 25 to 33 years old. (The 3rd... 36 to 46).
On the first boat, I had no dinghy
at all! I did the side stroke in to Key West
, with HUGE freediving fins. At the end of the day, I'd swim back out, holding my groceries out of the water
with one hand.
So, "building my own" allowed me to live below the poverty level, in a shack connected to a barn, (which I built), and ALL extra time & $ went into my projects. That was key #1... "build my own boats".
Next, is "go as small as will serve your needs". Averaged out over decades, boats cost more exponentially with size. It is the dockage, haulouts, fees
, sails/rigging, and every gadget on the boat. The bigger the boat, the more crap you will put on it. Mine were a 23 cat, a 28 tri, and after getting married @ 35... a 34' tri. This has been "just right" for two.
Go shallow draft
. This triples your options to anchor
out. I was single
handed in my 20s and much of my 30s, so I took the ICW
many times. With few exceptions, I anchored out every night! AVOID DOCKS, ANCHOR
During that period, I was young & feisty, with mondo boat skills, so finding work along the way was never a problem. Not so any more! At almost 57, I am achy from a life of serious injuries, more picky what I do, and I don't give quotes. I no longer work as I go. Maintaining our own boat keeps me pretty busy.
I DO have "all the comforts" on our current
, etc... but they are as small, light & simple as they can be! Wherever possible, we avoid "unnecessary" complication. IE... Don't use duel purpose electronics
, & minimize interfacing.
is a black plastic 2.5 gal garden sprayer, with dish washing
nozzle. We sit it in the sun to heat it up, and shower
in the cockpit
. This keeps the moisture out from "down below".
We lived on Delphys for 12 years, (moved off 3 years ago), and still cruise
on her. From the get go, we set up EVERY option for energy efficiency. Some things have been changed, as they became obsolete, others are the same.
We have Fluorescent or LED lights
, incl. the mast
head & swinging anchor lights. We have all "black brick" AC to 19V DC devices, (like TV & Computer) running on direct 12V to 19V DC/DC converters. This avoids the need to turn on the 120W inverter
, except rarely. We have a perfectly balanced helm
, so the autopilot
hardly works at all. We have super efficient vacuum panel refrigeration
. (@ 2 qu/ft, and NOT making ice, it uses VERY little amps). We chose a design that "really sails", so fuel
expenses for our 18 HP engine
are minimized, etc...
Everything has an upfront price
. By spending our thought, money, and energy on "efficiency" from the get-go, we only need about 40 Ah / day. This is easily supplied by our solar panels
, even on cloudy days, during the 95% of the year that we are not doing "overnighters". Only after overnighters do we need to crank the engine
for an hour in the morning, and our simple Hitachi 55 will do fine. This saves us a LOT of money on fuel
, huge alternator/reg., etc.
This philosophy applied equally well when we built a house. This was later sold for the "cruising kitty", after Delphys was ready for launch, (still 2 years from her first sail).
We catch rainwater in the dinghy, and wash clothes in it, and cruise
where one needs very little to wear.
When it was still possible, I lived of of "the catch of the day". Now, with dying reefs
, cigutera, over fishing
, and restrictive local laws, this is mostly a thing of the past, (at least where I have cruised). I have become much more conscious lately, of when & where I take seafood, and then it is ONLY one meal. We have no freezer
, and don't need one.
We only eat out for lunch on occasion, (cheaper), and look or the "secret" cheap places where locals go for conch fritters, or a chicken roti. (Potlucks on other boats are sometimes a nightly entertainment, however.)
By making the boat the most aesthetic restaurant around, and the galley functional, you eat out less. We have no oven
, and do fine without, using a Dutch oven
& pressure cooker.
Back stateside... we hit consignment shops, or even the Salvation Army for bargains on clothes.
It is the same philosophy that I have applied to my life in general. Pay the upfront price
, Live consciously, Tread lightly, Go small, and don't wait until you're too old to enjoy it!
As much as we'd like to, truly becoming "friends" with the third world locals is rare. The least we can do is be "ambassadors of good will", and remain cognizant of the fact that our little homebuilt plywood
boat, still represents unimaginable wealth to them.
I don't know if there is anything useful in there or not, but...
Sorry if I rambled.